A word of advice about how to make sure your gas and electric heaters are safe.
17 May 2010
Winter heating – keep yourself and your family warm and safe
As the days get shorter and cooler it’s a good time to do your winter heating safety check. Getting your gas and electric heaters serviced, fixed or replaced before winter arrives in force means that you will be well prepared for the colder days.
Gas heaters – LPG and natural gas
If you have gas heaters get them serviced by a qualified technician. Flame-effect heaters and LPG cabinet heaters should be serviced annually and other types of flued and unflued space heaters at least every two years.
Checking for leaks from your cabinet heater is easy, spread soapy water on the connections and turn on the cylinder valves. If bubbles appear then the heater is leaking. Turn off the valves straight away and contact an LPG service agent or technician. And remember never put a leaking cylinder or gas appliance in your car, contact a gasfitter or service technician and ask them to collect it.
When you’re using gas appliances make sure that there is good air flow and fresh air circulating. And watch out for:
- a smell of gas, from the appliance or anywhere in the house
- difficulty in establishing a flame or unusual delays in flame ignition
- an unpleasant smell similar to car exhaust
- feeling faint or dizzy while an appliance is operating
- blockage or corrosion around burner ports
- any change in the position of artificial logs or the burner bed of a heater
- soot deposits in or around the appliance.
If you notice anything unusual or suspicious, turn the heater off and let fresh air into the room. Have the gas heater assessed and serviced by a gasfitter or a qualified service technician as soon as possible.
Over the summer dust can gather in electric heaters. Vacuum the dust off your heaters, especially fan heaters. Check cords and attachments for any damage and or if anything is broken. If there are any problems, don’t use the heater, have it checked and repaired or replace it. If everything looks good turn the heater on and check for strange smells or noises. If there is anything suspicious then turn it off and get it checked by an electrician.
More safety tips when using gas and electric heaters
- Keep a clear space of at least one metre from the heater – always keep yourself, your children a meter way and don’t place heaters near walls, curtains or furniture.
- Don’t use a heater as a clothes dryer, unless it is specifically designed to do that.
- Unplug heaters when you’re not using them so that they can’t be accidentally turned on.
- Use a fire guard if you have small children or if there’s lots of foot traffic.
- Don’t use LPG cabinet heaters in bathrooms, bedrooms and other small spaces, or when there are unsupervised children or infirm people around.
- Remember don’t overload multi-plugs and multi-boxes by plugging in appliances, like heaters and other large appliances. Plug appliances that heat straight into a wall socket.
More electrical and gas safety tips and information are on the Energy Safety website.